by Dallas Theological Seminaryon December 6, 2006in Articles
Plan Bible readings from December 1 through January 6 that focus on the characters of Christmas: Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, Jesus, the magi, Anna, and Simeon.
Celebrate advent. Use weekly guides with family or friends that help you focus on the reason for the season.
Play Handel's Messiah and meditate on the words taken right out of Scripture. Find a Messiah "Sing-along" in your city and raise your voice in celebration.
Pray for those in your life who need the Savior.
Make your own greeting cards that incorporate Christian imagery.
Write a Christmas story and send it out in lieu of cards.
Send a Christmas letter with your cards in which you talk about what Jesus' birth means to you.
If you support a child through a charitable organization, send a letter stamped with a Christmas design and explain what it means.
Bake star cookies and talk with your children or neighborhood kids about the star over Bethlehem. Deliver the cookies together to someone who needs Christ's love.
Invite unchurched friends to join you in attending a Christmas pageant. Afterward talk about the message.
Invite neighbors for dinner and share Christmas traditions.
Stock your CD player full of Christ-focused Christmas music.
Take a child shopping at the Dollar Store to select toys and sundry items for underprivileged kids.
Select gifts with eternity in view for the people on your gift list. Consider giving subscriptions, event tickets, music, or books that will be meaningful.
Collect canned goods from your neighbors and make a food basket for a needy family.
Give of your excess. If you have used eyeglasses, maternity clothes, toys, cell phones, or Bibles you no longer need, donate them to charities that can benefit from them. The same goes for extra bedding, pillowcases, and coats.
Read Augustine's Sermon on the Nativity: What human being could know all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and concealed under the poverty of His humanity?"; and G. K. Chesterton's The God in the Cave: "The place that the shepherds found was not an academy or an abstract republic; it was not a place of myths … explained or explained away. It was a place of dreams come true."
If people ask what you want for Christmas, provide the name of your favorite charity. Or ask friends to donate Christian books to your local library.
Replace the poinsettia centerpiece with a nativity scene.
Find Lancelot Andrewes's Sermons (17th century) on the internet and read the ones on the nativity preached before King James.
After reading Andrewes, read T. S. Eliot's The Journey of the Magi and Gerontion ("A word within a word, unable to speak a word/Swaddled with darkness").
For the family member with everything, provide a contribution to a favorite ministry in his or her name.
Make coupons redeemable for your time-typing, yard work, accounting, babysitting, volunteering, teaching art, coaching SAT exams.
Teach kids to read. Take communion to shut-ins. Share Christ's love by giving of your time.
Throw a birthday party for Jesus complete with birthday cake (but not all the candles).
Lend your expertise. If you're an attorney, donate legal help to organizations pursuing justice. If a doctor or nurse, volunteer at a pregnancy resource center or Gospel Mission. If a teacher, spend your winter or summer break in another culture where your skills are in demand.
Read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Then read 1 Samuel 7:7-13 and sing the original second verse of "Come Thou Fount."
Invite friends in to view your favorite Christmas movie and end by reading Luke 2.
Mend a quarrel. Write a letter to someone who needs your unmerited favor.
Give thanks. Pray with gratitude for your wealth-materially, relationally, physically, nationally.
Buy a blank journal record some of your many blessings-God's gifts to you.
Write a letter thanking someone in your church for service rendered to Christ.
Plant a real Christmas tree. Find an organizations that plants trees in a threatened forest ecosystem. As you do so, consider the meaning of God's giving humanity dominion over the earth.
Eat dinner by Christmas-tree lights. Talk about the trees in Eden, on Golgotha, and the Tree of Life in Revelation.
Go to an art gallery or do an art search on the Internet and find paintings and sculptures relating to the Christmas story.
Buy scratch-and-sniff frankincense and share it with someone. Imagine what the world smelled like when the magi arrived at the house.
Sing. Grab a friend with a guitar and get some friends together for Christmas carols. Take the music to your neighbors or a nursing home.
Give away "Jesus" videos to your neighbors.
Write a Christmas letter to a missionary.
Attend a candlelight service on Christmas eve.
Set an extra place at Christmas dinner. Invite an international student or family to join you.
Arrange all the characters in the crèche except for baby Jesus. Make a grand entrance of His arrival on Christmas morning.
Give God a special, sacrificial gift that only you and He know about.
Go to church. As you sing the familiar carols consider the meaning of "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail! The Incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel!"